Wow. That’s all I can say right now. Wow. “Lego Star Wars” is good. Really good. In fact it’s quite great. It’s funny. It’s witty. It’s clever. And in many ways it’s brilliant. Sure it’s Lego propaganda meant for the kids, but there’s so much humor that will be accessible to Star Wars geeks, that it’s tough not to enjoy this. This is one of the finest examples of “Star Wars” satire that I’ve seen since “Robot Chicken.” Basically, the premise is as simple as it can get. Yoda is on a field trip with a group of Jedi Padawans and on their last stop of the trip, they visit the Galactic Senate to see how the political system works.
I had originally wanted to see “The People Vs. George Lucas” mainly because I hoped it would vent out many of the frustrations that I felt as a ex-Star Wars fan. But at the end of the day, “The People vs. George Lucas” has no idea what it is or what it wants to be, thus we’re left with a generally muddled and awfully confused movie that seeks to do nothing more than make money off of and exploit Lucas as Lucas has purportedly done to his fans. We should love him but hate him. We should question him but also understand he has great intentions. He’s a hack but he’s an artist. He’s a hollow businessman, but a surefire juggernaut of filmmaking. He hasn’t made a film in years but he changed the industry. And that’s no end to what confusing mixed messages you’ll received while watching this slapdash wishy washy little film.
Fifty five seconds in, I’m not kidding, fifty five seconds in, “Family Guy” manages to meet my expectations in the sense of laziness concerning the writers. Does this show still have writers? Are they just floating around in big pools compiling scripts on cocktail napkins now? Do they even care anymore? Within the first minute, “It’s A Trap!” squeezes in a joke about the nineties, before the Griffins experience another blackout. Just like “Blue Harvest.” Except with the aforementioned special, there was some set-up. Here the family groans at the black out and Stewie asks “We’re doing Jedi now, aren’t we?” to which Peter groans and declares “Let’s just get through this.” So… what’s the joke here? Were the writers obligated to finish off the trilogy? Are they making it heard to their fan base that they don’t even want to do this final installment? Are they echoing our thoughts on yet another “Star Wars” satire? Does the fan base even care that the writers aren’t even trying anymore?
Director Daniel Smith and Co-Collaborator Jeff Sheetz took it upon themselves to create possibly one of the finest homages to the “Star Wars” universe of all time, and one of the most clever looks in to the untold story of Lucas’ most iconic characters by taking the combined talents of Dave School from Universal Studios to tell their own prequel, the prologue to Han Solo and Chewbacca.
Watching “Something, Something, Something Darkside” is similar watching another episode of “Family Guy.” It’s boring, tedious and so intent on being funny it feels as if it has to point out almost every single joke it posits. “Ahaha, the giant chicken is Boba Fett!” says Peter. Get it? Because the chicken fights with Peter in these long drawn out unfunny fight scenes meant to kill time and hide the fact the show is short on actual story. “I’d give my right hand for this day to end.” Get it? Because Chris is Luke and Luke gets his right hand cut off by Darth. When Luke is hanging from Cloud City, Leia asks Luke to raise his right hand. Get it? Because Chris is Luke and Luke gets his right hand cut off by Darth. “Turn the Ship Around” is played when Leia asks Lando Calrissian to turn the ship around to save Luke. Get it? Because of the disco song. Does any of the target audience even know what Disco music is?
I was born in 1983, so most of my knowledge about “Star Wars” being something of a magical property at its time was because of my uncle who is a big fan of the series and recalls all the stories about watching the original film and “Empire Strikes Back” in theaters with audiences who managed to garner an amazing experience. These days there is no such thing as a genuinely thrilling experience at movie theaters anymore. “The Empire Strikes Back” is the height of the “Star Wars” trilogy, the movie that told audiences a genuine story and amped up its dramatic tension and suspense considerably by adding more depth to its heroes and even adding much more complexity to its villain Darth Vader by giving him a master to answer to who had large plans for the galaxy under his tyranny. “The Empire Strikes Back” is proof positive that without Lucas’ control, this series was destined to hit major high points that arguably faltered with “Return of the Jedi.”
So as you all may know, we’re big, big fans of the “Star Wars” series. We’ve seen all the movies, all the re-edits and special editions, we (when we say we we mean me) bought all three covers of the TV Guide special edition celebrating “The Phantom Menace,” we’ve seen the animated series, the other animated series, that other animated series with those dumb teddy bears, the animated series with the gay robots, and the current animated series exploring Anakin’s life before he became all evil and melodramatic. Recently we rewatched the entire series on Spike TV here in America and realized that we didn’t enjoy the prequels as much as we remember. I mean I’m definitely in the minority when I say “Attack of the Clones” was watchable, and “Revenge of the Sith” almost (almost) gets in touch with what “Star Wars” is all about, but I sat watching “The Phantom Menace” and… um… yeah, it’s terrible. Terrible. Awful. I mean I still don’t know what the actual plot for that movie was. Seriously, tell me! I decrypted the plot to “2001: A Space Odyssey” faster than I did for this.
So it came and went like a bolt of lightning in theaters and the intent for big screen wishes were to give folks a treat on the back story of new Jedi Ahsoka who is recruited and soon becomes a feisty second hand to Anakin during the massive Clone Wars and it’s not that bad a movie. You laugh but it’s true; “The Clone Wars” wasn’t really too bad of a film, we just grew up without the tales now catered to children. This isn’t the first time and sadly this isn’t the last time. The next person who tells me that Lucas raped their childhoods is going to get five fingers on the cheek and a kick in the ass. Because in spite of its inherent flaws and stunning departure from Lucas’s typical storytelling style, it wasn’t as bad as “Phantom Menace” and its television series is also one program you can’t put too much weight on because it carries the mantle well.